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Fuego Sagrado

Fuego Sagrado (Jayro Bustamante x Jung Jae-il, 2023)

NotesPart of Special Issue1: 25X250

Fuego Sagrado lasts 1.40, about the length of the title song from Brian Eno’s Another Green World. Hearing Parasite composer Jung Jae-il’s ascendant sounds might make you think of that other synth pioneer, Tangerine Dream, and their score for Sorcerer, which turns Latin America into an extra-terrestrial zone. Bustamante brings Guatemalan practice back to earth. From behind, an iPhone films a woman, María Telón, the Maya actor who you will recognise from Film Fest Gent competition entry La Llorona (2019). “Sacred fire that purifies,” she speaks in voice over.

Several shots whizz past as she leaves the city streets in a car, and climbs a hillside. Swooning strings, tense, tender, Hollywood. Jung’s blaring Squid Game ‘Pink Soldiers Theme’ was an example of true art-pop, pulling WhatsApp notification aesthetics into blockbuster scoring, with its sparse, catchy repetition. Here, his principles intensify Bustamante’s images, turning the montage from documentary to sheer progress as Telón delivers a divine offering of food, harsh, digitally saturated colours swelling along with the sound.

The fire is lit. Cut to black. Then we spill back to the same plain, in a larger aspect ratio. Crops seem to have grown, but the music stays mournful along with Telón. Was this a sound from God, then, or some disquieting global force?